Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Election of 1864
National Review Online ^ | 1/21/2004 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 01/21/2004 7:05:04 AM PST by Redcoat LI

The Election of 1864 Advantage: Commander-in-chief.

The standing ovation for the chairman of the interim Iraqi Governing Council, the systematic refutation of all the tired canards — "unilateralism," "preemption," and "hubris" — praise and admiration for Afghans, the peroration about the historic times we are in and the promise to press on, all this was Trumanesque, delivered in Tuesday night's State of the Union Address with spirit and without apology. Even Mr. Bush's sterner maxims — "They declared war on the United States — and war is what they got" — were more majestic than haughty. No apologies, no going back, no regrets, no boasting.

In reaction, the tortured expressions of a Ted Kennedy or Hillary Clinton were testament to the strength of his message, and the accompanying fear that the president's words could only have a powerful effect in reminding Americans that they should be proud of their sacrifice and idealism as they see the war and its aftermath through. All this was a sad contrast to this week's senseless furor of Howard Dean, the weird convolutions of Wesley Clark, and the empty platitudes of John Kerry. We are learning that this bunch appears either frantic or puerile precisely because they still don't grasp that by any historical standard the American military's record in Afghanistan and Iraq has been phenomenal, and the Sisyphean task of implanting democracy amid autocracy the moral act of our age. All this Mr. Bush articulated more than well — and rightly so for without him it would all in fact have been impossible.

Unfortunately, the last half of the speech did not match the power of the stirring beginning. The details of American pathologies — from sexually transmitted diseases to the abuse of steroids by athletes — were better left for other occasions. And some of us are very worried about elements of the president's domestic agenda — for example his proposed guest-worker program that by applying a veneer of legality to a vast web of illegality will only make things worse until we deal honestly and systematically with the moral, ethical, and political dimensions of illegal immigration that transcend labor and economics. In addition, tax-cut extensions, war, needed military investment, Middle East reconstruction, space exploration, domestic security, and prescription-drug entitlements do not add up, but result in rates of deficit spending that are unsustainable.

Yet the president realizes that his singular leadership in this deadly struggle is such that unease elsewhere with his budget and immigration initiatives must remain for most of us just that — unease. Where the president is great the opposition is pathetic; and where he is on weak ground, they are still weaker — as evidenced by the collective ankle biting of Dean, Clark, and Kerry and the responses of Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle.

After this startling week of contrasts, the election of 2004 is sizing up to be as pivotal to the security and future safety of the United States as that of 1864; and if things stay as they are, most Americans — and rightly so — will vote now for their incumbent commander-in-chief as they once did then.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 1864; 2004; anklebiters; gwb2004; sotu; vdh; victordavishanson; waronterror; wot

1 posted on 01/21/2004 7:05:05 AM PST by Redcoat LI
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI
I hope he's right. I was also impressed that he directly refuted the idea that terrorism could be dealt with as a legal problem. After hearing Wastely Clark claim that a big lawsuit combined with an economic boycott, and the negotiating prowess of Tony Blair changed Qaddafi's mind about being a terrorist, I think this still needs to be explained to the less intelligent members of a certain political party.
2 posted on 01/21/2004 7:13:00 AM PST by .cnI redruM (Iowa Headline - Kerry, Firefighters Hose Howard Dean!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI
Interesting post. However, they don't mention the incumbent in 1864. While you and I know who that was, many people may not.
3 posted on 01/21/2004 7:21:26 AM PST by republicanwizard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: republicanwizard
Good eye,I did not notice that.
A clue for those who don't know who that incumbent was,he's the guy on the nickel.
I would have said 5 dollar bill,but according to the democRATS people haven't seen that large amount of money in a long time.
Of course the challenger was a disgruntled,feckless ex-general.
4 posted on 01/21/2004 7:42:15 AM PST by Redcoat LI ("If you're going to shoot,shoot,don't talk" Tuco BenedictoPacifico Juan Maria Ramirez)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: republicanwizard
Oh my God, don't even mention it! The Southrens around here will come unglued!
5 posted on 01/21/2004 7:43:32 AM PST by SoCal Pubbie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SoCal Pubbie
Yes, I'll mention. The great, the incomparable, the founder of my party, the Emancipator of the enslaved, the saviour of the Constitution, I mean Abraham Lincoln.
6 posted on 01/21/2004 7:53:57 AM PST by republicanwizard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI
Yeah, a real idiot. Later became Governor of New Jersey. Carrying on in a great tradition of that failed general are the failed Governors Florio, Whitman, DiFrancesco, McGreevey.
7 posted on 01/21/2004 7:55:00 AM PST by republicanwizard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI
In reaction, the tortured expressions of a Ted Kennedy or Hillary Clinton were testament to the strength of his message,

Kennedy looked like he was going to cry. Especially when Dubya mentioned "No Child Left Behind" which was supposed to be Kennedy's bill.

I loved it.

8 posted on 01/21/2004 7:57:19 AM PST by Tribune7 (Vote Toomey April 27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI
A clue for those who don't know who that incumbent was,he's the guy on the nickel.

?????

9 posted on 01/21/2004 7:59:21 AM PST by Tribune7 (Vote Toomey April 27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: republicanwizard
You left off Woodrow Wilson.
10 posted on 01/21/2004 8:00:10 AM PST by Tribune7 (Vote Toomey April 27)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Tribune7
Yeah, I know. The penny!
11 posted on 01/21/2004 8:03:50 AM PST by republicanwizard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Tribune7
Well, I never considered him that bad.
12 posted on 01/21/2004 8:04:11 AM PST by republicanwizard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: .cnI redruM
Let us not forget that just a week ago that Wastely Clark (I love that nickname, I hadn't heard it before) Promised that if he were to be elected (snicker) that there would never be another terrorist attack in this country.
13 posted on 01/21/2004 8:08:08 AM PST by Brainhose (THINK OF THE KITTENS!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Tribune7
Dean ads in Iowa trashed No Child Left Behind -- by name!

You don't say, "The president hurt our children by the Puppies and Flowers Act."

14 posted on 01/21/2004 8:10:21 AM PST by AmishDude
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: republicanwizard
Even more relevant is the opponent in 1864.
15 posted on 01/21/2004 8:11:25 AM PST by AmishDude
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI
This article would have been more effective if Hanson had more clearly blocked in the comparison between the antiwar Democrats of today and those of 140 years ago.

For example no mention is made of the Democrat opponent in 1864, General George McClellan. This role could easily be played by today's anti-war general Wesely Clark. There are other comparisons likely to be made, between the other lessor known Democrats of that era and those that occupy the stage today.

Without these details and with no direct comparison between Lincoln and Bush, the article fails (imo) to convey the historical linkage back to 1864.

16 posted on 01/21/2004 8:27:04 AM PST by mac_truck (Aide toi et dieu l’aidera)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: republicanwizard
While you and I know who that was, many people may not.

I have a feeling that people who read National Review, know who it was and could even tell you that he too ran against an ankle-biting opposition party that relied entirely on racist, class warfare tactics even then and whose nominee was a very bitter and egotistical failed 4-star General.

The People magazine folks don't read NR.

17 posted on 01/21/2004 8:53:15 AM PST by Ditto ( No trees were killed in sending this message, but billions of electrons were inconvenienced.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI; seamole; xkaydet65; Fury; .cnI redruM; xsysmgr; yonif; SJackson; monkeyshine; ...

No apologies, no going back, no regrets, no boasting.

Victor Davis Hanson moral clarity huge BUMP  [please freepmail me if you want or don't want to be pinged to Victor Davis Hanson articles]

If you want to bookmark his articles discussed at FR: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/k-victordavishanson/browse

His NRO archive: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson-archive.asp

18 posted on 01/21/2004 9:52:04 AM PST by Tolik
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: republicanwizard
And a tip of the hat to Uncle Billy Sherman. Who by capturing Atlanta saved the election for Lincoln.

As an aside (if memory serves) the soldiers voted for Lincoln by a large margin, even though little Mac would have brought them home.
19 posted on 01/21/2004 10:03:18 AM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Tolik
Thanks for the ping.
20 posted on 01/21/2004 10:04:42 AM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Valin
Would not want to miss VDH myself :)
21 posted on 01/21/2004 10:12:04 AM PST by Tolik
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI; republicanwizard
The Grand Army of The Republic voted overwhelmingly for Lincoln and was responsible for retuning him for a second term against the Democrat appeaser of his day, George McClellan.
22 posted on 01/21/2004 10:23:58 AM PST by metesky (Patriots 28 - Panthers 17)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI
VDH bump!
23 posted on 01/21/2004 10:32:01 AM PST by Rummyfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI; onyx; PhiKapMom; Wolfstar; Texasforever; Tamsey; Howlin; ohioWfan; Mo1
Yet the president realizes that his singular leadership in this deadly struggle is such that unease elsewhere with his budget and immigration initiatives must remain for most of us just that — unease. Where the president is great the opposition is pathetic; and where he is on weak ground, they are still weaker — as evidenced by the collective ankle biting of Dean, Clark, and Kerry and the responses of Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle.

Carve this comment in stone, and drop it on anyone's toe who suggests that "true conservatives" should sit this election out.

24 posted on 01/21/2004 11:46:45 AM PST by My2Cents ("Failure is not an option.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AmishDude
Good point. I've long thought that Wesley Clark was the reincarnation of Gen. George B. McClellan.
25 posted on 01/21/2004 11:48:02 AM PST by My2Cents ("Failure is not an option.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI
And, as in 1864, we have Copperheads in the Democrats.
26 posted on 01/21/2004 11:48:54 AM PST by Poohbah ("Beware the fury of a patient man" -- John Dryden)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mac_truck
Teh comparison between Clark and McClellan is stunning. When one considers Clark's back-and-forth about whether to run for President, he reminded me of the "decisiveness" of McClellan.
27 posted on 01/21/2004 11:49:52 AM PST by My2Cents ("Failure is not an option.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Rummyfan
Comparing President Bush to President Lincoln is a little off if you are a historian. And whoever thinks Lincoln saved the Constitution is far afield. He did more to ruin the rights of individual states which was totally unconstitutional since that evil war was an economic one, and was never about abolition since abolition had already begun. It was about the almighty dollar and forcing an agrarian economy to pay the same amount of debt as the Yankee Industrial economy. It was about the CENTRAL government taking over the Federal Economy and combining all the states' debt to make it a national debt leaving it so unbalanced, that the South protested vehemently and ultimately tried to leave the other states, which they had a perfect right to do.
The North did not attempt to rebuild the devastated South when it was over either. They stole land, goods, money, and treated the South shamefully. For many along year it was a virtual police state.
W hasn't declared war on the states who oppose him, (although I think some of them might have declared war on him,) but he is truly standing for a principle designed to make men free. The Civil war was the most anti-freedom war ever fought on this soil. We have never recovered from it and are still paying the price.
W, on the other hand, has been victorious, and in victory, he has been gracious. We have rebuilt and resored dignity to Afghanistan. We are trying to do the same in Iraq. The South was not in receipt of such graciousness though Lincoln was assassinated before most of the aftermath. I can't help wonder what whispers in his ear ever made him believe that the seperate states had to stay ONE state at any cost...and the cost might never be fully known, but we can sure see the damage done by giving a few old geezers the Sword of Solomon and expecting them to wield it according to the Constitution we know and love.
28 posted on 01/21/2004 11:55:19 AM PST by Nix 2 (http://www.warroom.com QUINN AND ROSE from 6-10 AM-104.7 FM in da Burgh&WWVA AM)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Nix 2
Good post with a lot of truth in it.

Lincoln's legacy is enormous - precisely because he turned the Constitution on its head. Abe concluded that the ties binding the people and the states to the union must be stronger to avoid dissolution. Thereto he promulgated a new type of quasi-mystical patriotism.

George W. Bush, facing the threat of our time in all its complexity, is seeking to bind all peoples to principles of freedom.

29 posted on 01/21/2004 3:24:00 PM PST by NutCrackerBoy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI
A clue for those who don't know who that incumbent was,he's the guy on the nickel.

Wow, you should save that Lincoln nickel. I hear they're pretty rare. ;)

30 posted on 01/21/2004 3:42:12 PM PST by LexBaird ("I don't do diplomacy." - Donald Rumsfeld)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: My2Cents
The comparison between Clark and McClellan is stunning.

I agree. I was disappointed that Hanson didn't do more to make the historical comparisons between 1864 and 2004. His recent book Ripples of War is an example of how good he is at doing that. Perhaps he's working on a more comprehensive analogy, and this is just an appetizer.

Cheers.

31 posted on 01/21/2004 5:46:27 PM PST by mac_truck (Aide toi et dieu l’aidera)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: mac_truck
I also think it's the first time I've seen VDH write an article and not mention Hoplites. ;-)
32 posted on 01/21/2004 6:19:53 PM PST by My2Cents ("Failure is not an option.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Nix 2
You need to read up a little more about the Southern radical fire-eaters and the Confederate leaders. Preserving slavery was a major concern of theirs. You'd have to distort things to make them out to be the party of liberty in any meaningful way, and war was a risk they were willing to take to get what they wanted.

It's true that in the 1860s we weren't yet in the business of offering massive foreign aid to those who lost wars with us. We hadn't yet become such an incredibly wealthy land. And it may have been easier to give money to foreigners who were forced to fight against us and didn't know any better, than to fellow citizens who went into war willingly.

But time will tell how successful our reconstruction of Iraq or Afghanistan will be. Our impression on those countries probably couldn't make life there any worse, but whether our it will be long-lasting or not remains to be seen.

I doubt this is the election of 1864 again. I just hope it's not a rerun of 1964: a mandate for a costly foreign war and runaway spending.

33 posted on 01/21/2004 6:48:38 PM PST by x
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Redcoat LI
they still don't grasp that by any historical standard the American military's record in Afghanistan and Iraq has been phenomenal, and the Sisyphean task of implanting democracy amid autocracy the moral act of our age.

Regarding the 'Sisyphean task', I'm partial to the liberation of Eastern Europe by Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul II, as being 'the moral act of our age'.
34 posted on 01/21/2004 9:31:09 PM PST by Mike Fieschko
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson